Monday, January 5, 2009

15 Footer 1.5.09

But Home is Where the Heart Is, So Your Real Home's In Your Chest (Sacramento at New Jersey):



This song does not mean that Vince Carter has a heart. Or a soul for that matter. But the Nets are a lowly 6-12 at home, despite the fact that they're hovering around .500. Yuck. Still, I'll never tire of shoveling praise Jersey's way for just how competitive they've been this season, even against some pretty tough competition. Devin's potential absence is one hell of a hiccup considering he accounts for about half of the offensive creation (the other half goes to his royal Douchebagness). But luckily for the Nets, they're playing the Kings. Yeah, yeah, Kevin Martin's back, and that does wonders for this game's watchability. Beautiful. Still, the Nets have made the most quiet of ruckuses (rucki?) with a nice stretch of competitive, intensely entertaining affairs. This team has a lot of...something. I'm not sure what that something is just yet, but I'll get back to you.


The Little Giants, Starring Rick Moranis, Ed O'Neill, 2.0 (San Antonio at Miami):

If you've read HP for any substantial length of time, you know that the Spurs are the villains of every kids sports movie ever made. They've got the silver spoon in their mouths. They've got the matching uniforms. They've got the attitude. And meanwhile, the nerdy protagonist of a coach has assembled a group of cast-offs and misfits that may not win, but certainly learns a valuable lesson. Maybe Pop isn't as infinitely hateable as some of those mythical asshole coaches with their slicked back hair, but the team is just as insidious, just as ruthless, and though the Lakers and Celtics are the big dogs, the Spurs are still the bad guys. Trust me.

Wade 2.0 is the imported talent who doesn't quite seem to belong, and yet the team thrives on his play and his success. So come on 2.0, win the day, and put Spoelestra's name on that damn water tower.


All Together Now (Toronto at Milwaukee):

I fell in line with the majority, I refused to believe, and now I wish I could turn back the hands of time. I'm sorry, dear Bucks, but I refused to believe in you. But somehow, even without my valuable approval, Skiles has the Bucks right in the thick of things in the East. Want to know what's truly amazing about 'Waukee's resurgence (or maybe just surgence)? In typical Skiles fashion, they're doing it as a team. A Luol Deng isn't emerging with "next big thing" status. A Kirk Hinrich or a Ben Gordon aren't being annointed as premier talents at their position. Rather, Michael Redd has been good not great, Richard Jefferson does a little bit of everything, Bogut's progress is on schedule, and the rotation has been steady. So why am I surprised by a team with no surprises?

On the other side of the tracks, the Raps are still in trouble. Add some injury concerns on top of the flaming bag of dog feces that currently resides on Colangelo's front porch, and you can begin to see just how putrid this team smells right about now. Delightful.


A Fun Family Game for All Ages (Golden State at Utah):

The Warriors are a chicken with its head cut off, forced to scramble randomly within an invisible boundary. If the chicken crosses the invisible boundary, it's foe, a chimpanzee (Jazz), explodes. Don't ask how or why. Do you think the Warriors would be able to explain it anyway? The Jazz, however, have two options: the chimpanzee can attempt to put together a five-piece puzzle which has a simplicity countered only by the fact that a monkey is attempting to put it together. Or, the chimp can attempt to chase the headless chicken and kill it with its bare hands. Think about it.


So Much Depends Upon a Red Wheelbarrow (Indiana at Denver):

The NBA world adores Danny Granger, and for the most part I agree. He's an incredible talent, a hell of a scorer, and amassess stats like it ain't no thang. But, I have to ask: what does Granger have that Carmelo doesn't? Carmelo's been criticized and picked at and prodded about his status as a 'franchise player', and yet Danny Granger is widely revered as not only the great hope of the Pacers, but their franchise messiah. What is so inherently different about Granger's game that separates him from Melo's apparent stroke of fatal misfortune? Why is he destined for greatness when the two have similar defensive fallacies, rely on the midrange jumper, and can be off-the-charts scorers?

Regardless of which way you lean, these players are essential to their teams' relative levels of success. Though Billups return to hometown hero status will always be considered the catalyst of Denver's season, Carmelo Anthony is no doubt the engine that keeps the team running. His scoring, his fearlessness, and his surprisingly good defense have all been essential parts of Denver's run. I don't even need to mention the fact that he's taking all the big shots despite the fact that Mr. Big Shot is supposedly on the court alongside him.

 
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